A fat panda, called Po (Black), saving the world one kung fu move at a time is the basic premise and it's mostly as funny as it sounds. Kung Fu Panda 2 presents Po with the job of stopping an evil razor-feathered peacock, Shen (Oldman) with super-villain aspirations of ruling China by overthrowing the art of kung fu with monstrous metal canons.

The arrival of Shen interupts the life of the newly-proclaimed Dragon Warrior, Po, who is busy enjoying his minor local celebrity status and dividing his time between fighting off evil with the Furious Five, and helping his father in his noodle shop. While Po begins to question where he came from with his goose father, leading to an interesting side story of adoption and nature versus nuture, his martial arts master addresses the next phase in Po’s training and wants him to master inner peace (whatever that may be).

Just as Po learns the truth about his beginnings, he must adventure to face the tyrannical peacock and his legion of wolves to save China. Only through achieving inner peace can Po find victory. Unfortunately mastering a perfect Zen is nothing but an abstract concept for the pudgy protagonist.

The movie differs from the cliché ‘follow your heart’-type outcomes by bearing messages of self discovery and personal struggles. It is a movie for all the family being both entertaining and visually spectacular (especially in 3D) and perfectly captures the essence of mythical China in a humorously enchanting way. It can however be a little scary for the younger members of the family in places so be warned.

It's Jack Black’s comedic strength that sells this movie ultimately as he, the misfit martial arts panda, mocks himself continuously on the rocky road to victory.

Sinéad Kelly